NIH Funded Fellowship in Nephrology and Urology Research at The Ohio State University and the Kidney and Urinary Tract Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded Student Urinary Tract Program in Education and Research (SUPER) Summer Training Program is for graduate and medical students interested in 
an integrated research and clinical experience. The SUPER Summer Training Program is designed to attract a talented and diverse pool of predoctoral trainees to the fields of Nephrology and Urology. In doing so, this competitive program can fill key training gaps, increase the pediatric Nephrology and Urology workforce, and ultimately improve patient care through new clinical experiences and research opportunities that accelerate scientific discoveries. Participants in this 10 week program will: (A) increase their understanding of urinary tract development, physiology, and disease pathogenesis, (B) enhance their knowledge in the basic skills required to be a successful biomedical researcher, (C) be emersed in a translational research project where they develop a hypothesis and generate data that result in an abstract and poster presentation, and (D) have exposure to multi-disciplinary careers focused on Nephrology and Urology.

Funding: Program participants receive a $6,000 stipend as well the opportunity to attend the American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week annual meeting.

Eligibility: Medical students must have a passing grade in all current course content. Four students will be selected for each summer program.

Mentors: An outstanding pool of mentors is outlined below.

Learn How to Apply Here 


Brian Becknell (MD/PhD, NCH) is an Associate Professor and Pediatric Nephrologist at Nationwide Children’s. The overarching goal of Dr. Becknell’s research is to identify therapeutic strategies to protect kidney function in children with pyelonephritis and obstructive nephropathy. The Becknell laboratory focuses on mechanisms to enhance urothelial function to prevent kidney injury during congenital urinary tract obstruction, along with methods to promote host immunity in the setting of bacterial urinary tract infection through antimicrobial peptide production. Dr. Becknell has served as a mentor for high school students, undergraduates, medical students, residents, clinical fellows, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows. Students in the Becknell laboratory will receive exposure to mouse models of UTI and obstructive nephropathy; primary cell culture; nucleic acid and protein detection; and immunofluorescence microscopy.

Ginny Bumgardner (MD/PhD, OSU) is a Professor of Transplant Surgery, Surgeon-Scientist, Associate Dean of Medicine, and Director of Medical Student Research at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. She currently serves as the PI on an NIH Supported T32 training grant in immunology. The Bumgardner laboratory is focused on the discovery of novel mechanisms that regulate de novo alloantibody production after transplantation.  In addition, her laboratory tests the efficacy of conventional and novel immunotherapeutics to suppress alloantibody production to see if it interferes with alloantibody-mediated graft damage and prolongs allograft survival.

Christina Ching (MD, NCH) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatric Urology. Her primary research focus is to identify mechanisms of urothelial development and renewal to diagnose, treat, and prevent urothelial injury such as infection. Dr. Ching was recently granted a NIDDK-supported K08 award looking at the role of IL-6 signaling in UTI susceptibility.  Students in the Ching laboratory will gain experience with in vitro tissue culture, models of urinary tract infection, host-pathogen interactions, Western blotting, ELISA assays, and PCR. Dr. Ching has been awarded a teaching award by her clinical trainees and has mentored high school students, undergraduates, medical students, residents, and clinical fellows.

James Cray (PhD, OSU) is an Associate Professor in the Division of Anatomy, Department of Biomedical Education and Anatomy at OSUMC with courtesy appointment within the Division of Biosciences at OSU College of Dentistry. His primary focus for the past ten years has been bone development including growth anomalies that are genetically based, environmentally driven (teratogen) and gene-environment interactions. His research has focused on the effects of several pharmaceutical drugs on craniofacial development as well as the impact of maternal smoking and emerging electronic cigarettes in development. Dr. Cray has mentored over 25 trainees at various levels of study. Trainees in the Cray laboratory will gain experience with in vitro cell cultures, models of bone homeostasis, teratogenic challenges to bone development measured through RNA/Protein studies as well as robust in-house resources for histomorphometry and immunohistochemistry, light and confocal microscopy and ex-vivo micro-computed tomography.

Ashley R. Jackson (PhD, NCH) is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s. The overarching goal of Dr. Jackson’s research is to develop therapies aimed at mitigating CKD progression in children with urinary tract obstruction. Dr. Jackson’s research will define the cellular and molecular mechanisms governing the fate of keratin 5 cells and their functional significance in the developing and obstructed kidney. Dr. Jackson has mentored graduate, medical, undergraduate, and high school students and her trainees are prominently featured as authors on abstracts and publications arising from their work. Students in Dr. Jackson’s laboratory will be exposed to congenital and acquired experimental obstruction models, Cre/LoxP based lineage analysis, and urothelial organoid models.

Bryce Kerlin (MD, NCH) is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Section of Pediatric Hematology at Nationwide Children’s. Dr. Kerlin’s research is engaged in (a) basic science studies to identify the mechanisms by which thrombin and other coagulation system enzymes may contribute to glomerular injury and (b) the translational investigation of novel biomarkers of thrombotic risk, in glomerular and other disease states, through the use of global hemostasis assays to determine the relationship between disease-specific biomarkers and hypercoagulability. Students in his laboratory will investigate novel molecular signaling pathways involved in podocyte injury, which may become novel therapeutic targets for Nephrotic Syndrome and other glomerular diseases. Dr. Kerlin has over ten years’ experience mentoring trainees at all levels.

Navjot Pabla (PhD, OSU) is an Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University College of Medicine whose NIH-funded research program focuses on identifying therapeutic pathways to target in AKI.  By focusing on mechanisms of proximal tubule injury and recovery, Dr. Pabla’s research team has identified several protein kinases and membrane transporters as therapeutic targets in renal disorders. Use of high-throughput molecular screening has led to the identification of novel molecular targets for renal disease. His laboratory utilizes a functional genomics to identify such pathways and tests their ultimate relevance in mouse models of AKI.  

Juan de Dios Ruiz Rosado (PhD, NCH)is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Affiliate member of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at NCH. The overarching goal of Dr. Ruiz-Rosado’s NIDDK- supported research is to develop alternative non-antibiotic-based strategies to treat urinary tract infections (UTI) in children. The Ruiz-Rosado Lab focuses on identify novel innate and adaptive immune responses required for resistance to UTI. Dr. Ruiz-Rosado’s K01 grant will define the anti-microbial mechanisms employed by neutrophils during UTI. Also, Dr. Ruiz-Rosado’s research will identify inflammatory and pro- fibrotic pathways elicited by macrophages during pyelonephritis and kidney injury. Dr. Ruiz-Rosado has served as a mentor for trainees at a variety of levels, including high-school, undergraduate, graduate, medical and postdoctoral students. Students in the Ruiz-Rosado Lab will be exposured to experimental models of UTI and cellular and molecular biology techniques, including multicolor flow cytometry, flow cytometry data analysis, primary cell culture of phagocytic immune cells, bead-based immunoassays, and transcriptome analyses.

William E. Smoyer (MD, NCH) is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and a Pediatric Nephrologist at Nationwide Children’s. For the past 22 years his laboratory has been funded to investigate the molecular mechanisms involved in podocyte injury during nephrotic syndrome. Dr. Smoyer has a long history of mentoring postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, undergraduate students, and high school students and provides a range of basic science and translational opportunities for students regarding podocyte injury and Nephrotic Syndrome.

John David Spencer (MD, NCH) is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Nephrology and Hypertension at Nationwide Children’s. The objectives of the Spencer laboratory are to define the role(s) of antimicrobial peptides in the regulation and prevention of UTIs. Also, the Spencer laboratory evaluates the role of the kidneys intercalated cells in host defense against invading uropathogens. The Spencer laboratory has a vibrant research environment containing research scientists, technicians, clinical nephrology fellows, and PhD students. Students in the Spencer laboratory will be exposed to antimicrobial assays to define the bactericidal properties of antimicrobial proteins, in vitro and in vivo UTI models, histopathology, immunostaining, and commonly used protein and nucleic acid techniques.

Diana Zepeda-Orozco (MD, NCH) is a NIH-funded Assistant Professor and a Pediatric Nephrologist. The Zepeda-Orozco lab focuses on understanding the role of mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress in progressive kidney injury. Students training in the Zepeda-Orozco lab will investigate the pathological role of tubular cells mitochondrial superoxide in acute kidney injury and progressive kidney damage using a clinically relevant superoxide dismutase (SOD) mimic and tubule specific mitochondrial SOD knock-out mice. Dr. Zepeda- Orozco has served as a research mentor for undergraduate and graduate students as well as fellows undertaking advanced training in Pediatric Nephrology.